It appears 2017 could be a record breaking year for filming in Croatia following the last few record years in which the country has consistently attracted foreign TV and film production companies. Thanks to ground-breaking tourist numbers flocking to the country to see the sights displayed in popular series such as HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Star Wars franchise, and now confirmation of the upcoming James Bond sequel, Croatia is becoming more and more popular as a first-in-class choice and director’s paradise.
Game of Thrones filming in Dubrovnik
A special tax incentive programme introduced five years ago has helped the country attract a number of major productions, including the two most famous thus far -- Game of Thrones and Star Wars, which were filmed in the cities of Šibenik, Split and Dubrovnik.
The Croatian Audiovisual Centre recently unveiled 2016 figures which highlighted seven international projects that made use of the financial incentive programme for film and TV production, and included four feature films and three TV shows. Two of the feature films shot in Croatia in 2016 already had cinematic distribution and both were Danish productions including a comedy called Three Heists and a Hamster and a drama entitled, Pound for Pound. Recent reports suggest that distribution of the Swedish comedy All Inclusive, will also soon start filming in Croatia.
This news follows on the heels that James Bond, the last in the franchise starring Daniel Craig and Mamma Mia (with Meryl Streep) will also be shot in Croatia, and which was greeted with enthusiasm by locals and fans. Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest in the popular sci-fi series, which was filmed in Dubrovnik back in spring of 2016, is expected to hit global cinemas in December 2017 and is sure to amplify Croatia’s position as a popular choice for film shoots and production.
The city of Dubrovnik is becoming more and more popular, proof of which was seen this past winter when it hosted A-list Hollywood stars who arrived for the upcoming version of Robin Hood Origins, starring Taron Egeron and Jamie Foxx.
Knightfall using the Old City of Dubrovnik as a backdrop - Photo Zeljko Tutnjevic
Other notable TV shows that were shot on Croatian soil include Netflix’ The Borgia’s, History’s Knightfall, the BBC’s McMafia and Year Million by National Geographic. Current figures show that while filming in Croatia, these productions spent a total of 69.1 million Kunas on local products and services. As if things couldn’t get better, 2017 looks set to eclipse that figure with a high number of international productions confirmed to start shooting in Croatia. In the first half of 2017 six international productions applied for the financial incentives programme, according to the Croatian Audiovisual Centre which went on to state that this year could surpass the old record set in 2015 when 10 global productions generated 22 million Euros in local spend.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi filmed under heavy security - Photo Niksa Duper
For a small country, Croatia has a myriad landscapes and exceptionally stunning medieval towns, cities, islands and castles. Much of its coastline and interior provides a dramatic and almost mythical backdrop for fictional, sci-fi, drama and historic films and television series. It provides a perfect stand in for Italy, Spain and France at almost half the cost and can hold its own against large film-making centres such as Vienna and Berlin. Croatia can also boast a vibrant film industry of its own which is backed up with exceptional talent and production companies that hold impressive records both at home and abroad. All of this has led to a steady rise in the number of international production companies arriving to shoot television series and major film franchises and this is sure to continue in 2018 given recent successes.
Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx filming Robin Hood in Dubrovnik - Photo Niksa Duper